Published on

  • Be the first to comment


  1. 1. Junhel C. Dalanon, DMD, MAT
  2. 3. <ul><li>The Akkadian Empire was an empire centered in the city of Akkad (Sumerian: Agade Hittite KUR A.GA.DÈKI &quot;land of Akkad&quot;; Biblical Accad ) and its surrounding region (Akkadian URU Akkad KI) [1] in central Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). [2] </li></ul><ul><li>A map of the empire, showing Sargon's the Great's conquests </li></ul><ul><li>The city of Akkad was situated on the west bank of the Euphrates, between Sippar and Kish (in Iraq, about 50 km (31 mi) southwest of the center of Baghdad). Despite an extensive search, the precise site has never been found. It reached the height of its power between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC, following the conquests of king Sargon of Akkad. </li></ul><ul><li>Because of the policies of the Akkadian Empire toward linguistic assimilation, Akkad also gave its name to the predominant Semitic dialect: the Akkadian language, reflecting use of akkadû (&quot;in the language of Akkad&quot;) in the Old Babylonian period to denote the Semitic version of a Sumerian text. </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>The form Agade appears in Sumerian, for example in the Sumerian King List; the later Assyro-Babylonian form Akkadû (&quot;of or belonging to Akkad&quot;) was likely derived from this. It is possible that the Sumerian name, despite its unetymological spelling A.GA.DÈ , is from AGA.DÈ , meaning &quot;Crown of Fire&quot; [3] in allusion to Ishtar, &quot;the brilliant goddess&quot;, whose cult was observed from very early times in Agade. Centuries later, the neo-Babylonian king Nabonidus mentioned in his archaeological records [4] that Ishtar's worship in Agade was later superseded by that of the goddess Anunit, whose shrine was at Sippar—suggesting proximity of Sippar and Agade. [5] Despite numerous searches, the city has never been found. One theory holds that Agade was situated opposite Sippar on the left bank of the Euphrates, and was perhaps the oldest part of the city of Sippar. Another theory is that the ruins of Akkad are to be found beneath modern Baghdad. Reputedly it was destroyed by invading Gutians with the fall of the Akkadian Empire. </li></ul><ul><li>The first known mention of the city of Akkad is in an inscription of Enshakushanna of Uruk, where he claims to have defeated Agade—indicating that it was in existence well before the days of Sargon of Akkad, who the Sumerian kinglist claims to have built it. [6] </li></ul><ul><li>Akkad is mentioned once in the Tanakh—Book of Genesis 10:10: And the beginning of his Nimrod's kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar (KJV). The Greek (LXX) spelling in this passage is Archad . </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>The fame of the early establishers of Semitic supremacy was far eclipsed by that of Sargon of Akkad ( Sharru-kin = &quot;legitimate king&quot;, probably a title he took on gaining power [8] ) (23rd century BC), who defeated and captured Lugal-Zage-Si, conquering his empire. </li></ul><ul><li>The earliest records in the Akkadian language all date to the time of Sargon. Sargon was claimed to be the son of La'ibum or Itti-Bel, a humble gardener, and possibly a hierodule, prostitute, or priestess to Ishtar or Inanna. </li></ul><ul><li>One legend related of Sargon in neo-Assyrian times says that &quot;My mother was a changeling (?), my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azurpiranu (the wilderness herb fields), which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My changeling mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose not over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was gardener Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and (fifty?) ... years I exercised kingship.&quot; [9] </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>Originally a cupbearer to a king of Kish with a Semitic name, Ur-Zababa, Sargon thus became a gardener, responsible for the task of clearing out irrigation canals. This gave him access to a disciplined corps of workers, who also may have served as his first soldiers. Displacing Ur-Zababa, the crown was set upon Sargon's head, and he entered upon a career of foreign conquest. [10] Four times he invaded Syria and Canaan, and he spent three years thoroughly subduing the countries of &quot;the west&quot; to unite them with Mesopotamia &quot;into a single empire.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>However, Sargon took this process further, conquering many of the surrounding regions to create an empire that reached as far as the Mediterranean Sea and Anatolia, and extending his rule to Elam, and as far south as Magan (Oman), an area over which he reigned for 56 years. Trade extended from the silver mines of Anatolia to the lapis lazuli mines in Afghanistan, the cedars of Lebanon and the copper of Oman. This consolidation of the city-states of Sumer and Akkad reflected the growing economic and political power of Mesopotamia. The empire's breadbasket was the rain-fed agricultural system of northern Mesopotamia and a chain of fortresses was built to control the imperial wheat production. </li></ul><ul><li>Images of Sargon were erected on the shores of the Mediterranean, in token of his victories, and cities and palaces were built at home with the spoils of the conquered lands. Elam and the northern part of Mesopotamia (Subartu) were also subjugated and rebellions in Sumer were put down. Contract tablets have been found dated in the years of the campaigns against Canaan and against Sarlak, king of Gutium. </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Sargon, throughout his long life, showed special deference to the Sumerian deities, particularly Inanna, his patroness, and Zababa, the warrior god of Kish. He called himself &quot;The anointed priest of Anu&quot; and &quot;the great ensi of Enlil&quot; and his daughter, Enheduanna the famous poet, was installed as priestess to Nanna at the temple in Ur. </li></ul><ul><li>He also boasted of having subjugated the &quot;four quarters&quot;—the lands surrounding Akkad to the north (Subartu), the south (Sumer), the east (Elam) and the west (Martu). Some of the earliest texts credit him with rebuilding the city of Babylon ( Bab-ilu ) in a new location. </li></ul><ul><li>Troubles multiplied toward the end of his reign. A later Babylonian text states &quot;In his old age, all the lands revolted against him, and they besieged him in Akkad (the city)&quot; …but &quot;he went forth to battle and defeated them, he knocked them over and destroyed their vast army&quot;. Also shortly after, &quot;the Subartu (mountainous tribes of) the upper country—in their turn attacked, but they submitted to his arms, and Sargon settled their habitations, and he smote them grievously&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>These difficulties broke out again in the reign of his sons. Revolts broke out during the 9-year reign of his son, Rimush, who fought hard to retain the empire—and in the fifteen year reign of Rimush's elder brother, Manishtushu. The latter king seems to have fought a sea battle against 32 kings who had gathered against him. Both appear to have been assassinated. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>(Beloved of Sin), Sargon's grandson, who assumed the imperial title of &quot;King Naram-Sin, of the four quarters ( Lugal Naram-Sîn, Šar kibrat 'arbaim )&quot;, and, like his grandfather, was addressed as &quot;the god (Sumerian = DIN.GIR, Akkadian = ilu ) of Agade&quot; (Akkad), also faced revolts at the start of his reign. </li></ul><ul><li>Naram-Sin also recorded the Akkadian conquest of Ebla and Armani (Armenians). [11] To better police this area, he built a royal residence at Tell Brak, a crossroads at the heart of the Khabur basin of the Jezirah. Naram-Suen is supposed to have possessed an army of over 360,000 men, the largest size of any state up until that date. It enabled him to campaign against Magan (thought to be on the Arabian peninsula) which also revolted; Naram-Sin, &quot;marched against Magan and personally caught Mandannu, its king&quot; . The chief threat seemed to be coming from the northeastern mountaineers. A campaign against the Lullubi led to the carving of the famous &quot;Victory Stele of Naram-Suen&quot;, now in the Louvre. This newfound Akkadian wealth may have been based upon benign climatic conditions, huge agricultural surpluses and the confiscation of the wealth of other peoples. [12] </li></ul><ul><li>The economy was highly planned. After the advancing Akkadian forces from Tell Brak took the massive (100 acre) site of Tell Leilan, they destroyed nearby villages and brought the organization of farming and grain distribution into its bureaucratic control. Grain was cleaned, and rations of grain and oil were distributed in standardized vessels made by the city's potters. Taxes were paid in produce and labour on public walls, including city walls, temples, irrigation canals and waterways, producing huge agricultural surpluses. [13] </li></ul><ul><li>Stele of Naram-Sin, king of Akkad, celebrating his victory against the Lullubi from Zagros </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>Within 100 years the Empire of Akkad collapsed, almost as fast as it had developed, ushering in a Dark Age. By the end of the reign of Naram-Sin's son, Shar-kali-sharri, the empire collapsed outright from the invasion of barbarians of the Zagros known as &quot;Gutians&quot;. It has recently been suggested that the Dark Age at the end of the Akkadian period (and First Intermediary Period of the Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom) was associated with rapidly increasing aridity, and failing rainfall in the region of the Ancient Near East, caused by a global centennial-scale drought. [16] </li></ul><ul><li>The fall of the empire established by Sargon seems to have been as sudden as its rise, and little is known about the Gutian period. From the fall of Akkad ca. 2083 BC until the Sumerian renaissance ca. 2050 BC, there is much that is still dark. </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence from Tell Leilan in Northern Mesopotamia shows what may have happened. The site was abandoned soon after the city's massive walls were constructed, its temple rebuilt and its grain production reorganised. The debris, dust and sand that followed show no trace of human activity. Soil samples show fine wind-blown sand, no trace of earthworm activity, reduced rainfall and indications of a drier and windier climate. Evidence shows that skeleton-thin sheep and cattle died of drought, and up to 28,000 people abandoned the site, seeking wetter areas elsewhere. Tell Brak shrank in size by 75%. Trade collapsed. Nomadic herders such as the Amorites moved herds closer to reliable water suppliers, bringing them into conflict with farmers. This climate-induced collapse seems to have affected the whole of the Middle East, and to have coincided with the collapse of the Egyptian Old Kingdom. A relatively well-known king from that period is Gudea, king of Lagash. </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>Later material described how the fall of Akkad was due to Naram-Suen's attack upon the city of Nippur. When prompted by a pair of inauspicious oracles, the king sacked the E-kur temple, supposedly protected by the god Enlil, head of the pantheon. As a result of this, eight chief deities of the Anunaki pantheon were supposed to have come together and withdrawn their support from Akkad. [18] </li></ul><ul><li>For the first time since cities were built and founded, The great agricultural tracts produced no grain, The inundated tracts produced no fish, The irrigated orchards produced neither syrup nor wine, The gathered clouds did not rain, the masgurum did not grow. At that time, one shekel's worth of oil was only one-half quart, One shekel's worth of grain was only one-half quart. . . . These sold at such prices in the markets of all the cities! He who slept on the roof, died on the roof, He who slept in the house, had no burial, People were flailing at themselves from hunger. For many years, the events described in &quot;The Curse of Akkad&quot; were thought, like the details of Sargon's birth, to be purely fictional. But now the evidence of Tell Leilan, and recent findings of elevated dust deposits in sea-cores collected off Oman, that date to the period of Akkad's collapse suggest that climate change may have played a role. </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>The Akkadian government formed a &quot;classical standard&quot; with which all future Mesopotamian states compared themselves. Traditionally, the ensi was the highest functionary of the Sumerian city-states . In later traditions, one became an ensi by marrying the goddess Inanna , legitimising the rulership through divine consent. </li></ul><ul><li>Initially, the monarchical lugal ( lu = man, gal = great) was subordinate to the priestly ensi , and was appointed at times of troubles, but by later dynastic times, it was the lugal who had emerged as the preeminent role, having his own &quot;é&quot; (= house) or &quot;palace&quot;, independent from the temple establishment. By the time of Mesalim , whichever dynasty controlled the city of Kish was recognised as šar kiššati (= king of Kish), and was considered preeminent in Sumer, possibly because this was where the two rivers approached, and whoever controlled Kish ultimately controlled the irrigation systems of the other cities downstream. </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>The population of Akkad, like all pre-modern states, was entirely dependent upon the agricultural systems of the region, that seem to have had two principal centres: the irrigated farmlands of southern Iraq that traditionally had a yield of 30 grains returned for each grain sown, making it more productive than modern farming; and the rain-fed agriculture of northern Iraq, known as &quot;the Upper Country&quot; . </li></ul><ul><li>Southern Iraq during Akkadian period seems to have been approaching its modern rainfall level of less than 20 mm per year, with the result that agriculture was totally dependent upon irrigation. Prior to the Akkadian period the progressive salinisation of the soils, produced by poorly drained irrigation, had been reducing yields of wheat in the southern part of the country, leading to the conversion to more salt-tolerant barley growing. Urban populations there had peaked already by 2,600 BC, and ecological pressures were high, contributing to the rise of militarism apparent immediately prior to the Akkadian period (as seen in the stele of the vultures of Eannatum). Warfare between city states had led to a population decline, from which Akkad provided a temporary respite [20] . It was this high degree of agricultural productivity in the south that enabled the growth of the highest population densities in the world at this time, giving Akkad its military advantage. </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>One tablet from this period reads, &quot;(From the earliest days) no-one had made a statue of lead, (but) Rimush king of Kish, had a statue of himself made of lead. It stood before Enlil; and it recited his (Rimush's) virtues to the idu of the gods&quot; . Akkadian artists also discovered the &quot;lost wax&quot; method of bronze casting, previously believed to have been discovered much later, at the time of classical Greece. </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>The empire was bound together by roads, along which there was a regular postal service. Clay seals that took the place of stamps bear the names of Sargon and his son. A cadastral survey seems also to have been instituted, and one of the documents relating to it states that a certain Uru-Malik, whose name appears to indicate his Canaanite origin, was governor of the land of the Amorites, or Amurru as the semi-nomadic people of Syria and Canaan were called in Akkadian. It is probable that the first collection of astronomical observations and terrestrial omens was made for a library established by Sargon. The &quot;limmu&quot; calendrical system, used henceforth in Mesopotamian history, whereby which years were named by one significant event, and these were listed, also began in the Akkadian period. </li></ul>